Pilates and Vibration Machines

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If you have seen vibration machines at the gym or in stores recently, you may be thinking that they are just another gimmick, be intimidated by them, or read that they don’t work.

Vibration machines have been around since the Greeks, who used vibration to help people heal. They have been selling them in Europe for many years but they were very expensive. They have been available in USA stores in the past few years but unfortunately, unless you research them yourself, I have found the people selling the machines have been given little information and don’t understand what their model offers. The consumer needs to know if the machines offer more than vibration, which is great for relaxation and massage but not performance. I have seen them in gyms but they don’t appear to get much use as members don’t know how to utilize them. This is unfortunate as they really enhance a workout.

For people like me, who don’t wish for a physics lesson, I will try and simplify what they do. A vibration machine stimulates your body by, “G-force,” G stands for gravity. If you are standing you’re working against gravity. If a machine is 4G it is 4 times Earth’s Gravity. How the machine works are opposite to a person lifting the load, which many people can’t do. During Whole body vibration training, the machine platform lifts which increases the load, without risk of injury. This why the G-Force is important because a G-Force of 4 is only going to vibrate and massage. You also need frequency, which is the platform moving faster. You choose the frequency depending on how hard you want to work, your fitness level, and your goals. If a machine can’t offer between 20- 45 Hz and over 10-G the desired workout won’t be achieved. For the most successful outcomes, the European Space Agency has found the most successful outcomes have been through using a G Force of 15. Finally, you need to consider amplitude, which is how the platform moves up and down. You don’t want the machine to bounce. You want high enough amplitude for the large muscles of the lower body, and lower for the upper body to be comfortable.

As we age we need constant exposure to gravity. If we don’t our bone loss increases fast. As the vibration machine only requires us to stand on it, it is great for those who aren’t able to exercise or can’t get out during very hot or cold weather. It has been proven that standing on the vibration machine can increase bone density, increases blood flow, and moves lymphatic fluid. It also increases growth hormone which will help increase bone density. There are very few people who can’t use a vibration machine as there’s little chance of injury and needs very little time and effort. This makes it safe for elderly people, once they know they have no health issues or implants that may prevent them from using.  If they are unstable they can hold on as they stand on the moving platform and only need to do a couple of minutes a week to benefit.

As a Pilates instructor, I will always enjoy my workouts and promote the benefits of Pilates, however, I can perform some of the Pilates moves on the machine, and because of how it accelerates how much my muscles are working it intensifies my workouts without having to lift weights. I can also use it to work on my clients’ stability, flexibility, and injuries, knowing I’m not hurting them. It is a great way to warm up muscles before a workout, especially as many people jump out of bed or the car to exercise as the machine gently gets the blood flow going without risk of straining and injuring.

Many people, including athletes, have poor flexibility.  This is improved by the muscle fibers being stretched with the movement of the vibrating platform. The platform also helps us relax which reduces cortisol as it stops us tensing up. Pelvic Floor muscles become weaker in many women after childbirth and men and women with age. The pelvic floor is lifted using the vibration machine at higher levels and releases and relaxes the pelvic floor at lower levels, helping to strengthen and prevent incontinence. Weight Loss, not everyone is comfortable at the gym or stays motivated (New Year’s resolutions). You don’t need to do cardio to lose weight. If somebody tells you that, they are not reading up to date research. To lose weight you need exercises that are weight-bearing such as squats, lunges, and upper body exercises but just as using a 20lb dumbbell as opposed to a 2lb dumbbell, it is the intensity from the machine that will cause the change in body composition. To lose weight a person needs to reduce their calorie intake and eat nutritious food but you won’t need to use heavyweights. By gradually increasing the intensity of the machines over time you will do a more intense workout than many would reach with weights. As we age the hormones that increase libido, reduce body fat, maintain bone and muscle slow down. Many of us have increased in cortisol, the stress hormone, which in high amounts has a negative effect on our bodies. In 1999, Italian researcher, Carmelo Bosco, developed a vibrational program to maximize muscle stimulation with minimal fatigue. He discovered a simple routine on the Whole body vibration machine with the machine set to 11 G which resulted on these effects on the body.

Muscle Power- increased by 20%

Cortisol levels- decreased by 32%

Testosterone levels- increased by 7%

Growth Hormone Levels –increased by 360%

In 10 minutes standing on the platform was equal to 30 minutes running at 86% maximum intensity and instead of increasing stress levels they decreased.

Today many athletes are still suffering injuries from the conventional exercises many coaches and trainers can’t let go of, partly because the public still wants the, “no pain, no gain,” feeling. There is no evidence that says a vibration machine can replace cardio but it will help improve performance.

Contact Our Cypress Pilates Studio Houston at West End Cypress Pilates

If you want to enhance your Pilates workout you can add 15 minutes of Whole Body Vibration training to your workout. If you have given up working out try a few sessions on the Vibration Machine to improve your health and prolong aging. Just be prepared to only be on the machine for a couple of minutes as your body gets used to the intensity.

For more information on Pilates or Vibration training call, Katharine, at 8328671059 or email kb@westendhoustonpilates.com